Speak for Yourself

“Speak for Yourself: The Jordan Levin Story,” a new documentary by Stunt3 Multimedia and Hang Tough Productions.

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To sign or to speak? That was the question.

When Jordan Levin came into the world in 1976, he arrived about three months before his parents were expecting him. At the hospital in Michigan where he was taken, the doctors gave him just a 10 percent of survival. When he beat those odds, Jordan’s parents discovered another hurdle he had to overcome – their little boy was profoundly deaf.

Thus began a journey for Jordan’s family that has continued to this day – a journey that’s been filled with determination, heartbreak, smiles, tears, setbacks and triumphs – lots and lots of triumphs. Jordan’s inspirational and thought- provoking story comes to life in “Speak for Yourself: The Jordan Levin Story,” a new documentary by Stunt3 Multimedia and Hang Tough Productions.

At the heart of the film is Marty and Mollene Levin’s decision to raise their son Jordan as someone who could speak and read lips – and thus could communicate with anyone. This decision put them at odds with the so-called “deaf community,” which treats deafness not as a disability, but as simply a di?erence in human condition.

The Levins had to make the choice that the parents of every deaf child have to make: How do we raise our child? As a signer or as a speaker? Marty and Mollene chose a route that was far more di?cult – but in the end, for them, one that was far more rewarding. In the process, though, they were shunned by others in the deaf community who were outraged that they didn’t insist that Jordan use sign language. Their story – which is equal parts emotional and uplifting – is sure to provoke discussion and debate.

“Speak for Yourself: The Jordan Levin Story” begins with Jordan’s earliest days, back when the tiny infant had to spend four months in the hospital before he was healthy enough to come home. It continues as Marty and Mollene realize that Jordan is deaf, and follows them as they educate themselves on the options available to them. It tells of their relentless mission to “mainstream” their son – to make sure that he be allowed to live the same life as any other young boy.

Finally, it shows Jordan’s life today, as we meet the gym owner, hockey player and personal trainer he has become. We see that a combination of factors – his parents’ stubborn determination, his own fierce will power and some amazing technological advances – allow this deaf man to live a life that’s as normal as can be.

“Speak for Yourself: The Jordan Levin Story” covers ground that no documentary has ever covered before. It’s a film that will have intense appeal for anyone with a deaf relative or friend, but one that will appeal to a wider audience, as well. Anyone who’s been a parent will be able to relate to Marty and Mollene’s quest to do what’s best for their child.

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Testimonial

Our special program featured Jordan Levin along with his parents, Marty and Mollene, was an enormous success. Never before have I had so many teens thank me for bringing in a guest speaker. All three Levin’s had such an uplifting and motivational message to share with the world. They are relentless indeed!

- Rabbi Jason Miller

Director, ATID: Alliance for teens in Detroit
www.atidhs.org